The film Hugo follows the life of Hugo Cabret, an orphaned boy who lost his repairman father in a strange accident. After his father's death, Hugo secretly lives a lonely life in a Paris train station where he keeps the clocks wound. Thieving to stay alive, Hugo is the constant quarry of the train's security guard who would cast him out of the train station if he found him. In the midst of trying to steal toy parts to rebuild an automaton machine left by his father, the toy vendor Georges catches him and takes away Hugo's father's notebook with plans inside for the automaton. When Hugo follows the toy vendor home he meets the Georges' goddaughter Isabelle who says she'll return the notebook to him. Although Isabelle is unsuccessful, Georges says Hugo can have his notebook if he works at his stand repairing broken toys. Meanwhile, Hugo continues to try and repair the automaton which is missing a key that he learns Isabelle is in possession of. They use the key and the automaton draws an elaborate picture of a rocket ship hitting the man in the moon. The drawing is a reproduction of one done by Isabelle's godfather and, when the children confront him he gets angry and they must seek answers elsewhere. Research leads them to a film buff in possession of the last remaining film created by Georges. After he sees the film, Georges is reminded of how his films fell out of favor during World War I and he'd been financially bankrupt. Hoping to show Georges how beloved his work truly is Hugo means to bring him the automaton. When he goes to fetch it, he's captured by the station inspector but Georges intervenes and claims that Hugo is part of his family. Hugo gives him the automaton and the film buff tracks down many of Georges supposedly destroyed films and shows them in a ceremony to celebrate the filmmaker.